PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The flu has been deemed widespread this year, but so far the Rhode Island Department of Health said they’re seeing similar results to last year’s flu season.
“It’s not a particularly different flu season,” Department of Health spokesperson Joseph Wendelken said.
Wendelken said 162 people had been hospitalized and four people had died in connection with the flu as of Thursday.
He said it’s still early though.
By the end of last year’s season, approximately 1,300 people had been hospitalized.
“It’s really important that people get vaccinated if they haven’t been vaccinated yet,” Wendelken said.
Wendelken said the health department has seen a rise in H1N1, or the “swine flu,” which swept the globe in 2009. He said the regular flu vaccine guards against H1N1, which is not any more dangerous than any other flu strain.
According to Wendelken, any flu strain can be dangerous, especially to young children and the elderly.
The only requirement or health advisory issued related to the flu so far this season is an order for healthcare workers who haven’t had the flu shot to wear face masks when they work with patients. Visitors to hospitals or health clinics aren’t required to wear the masks.